Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Why I Choose Linux

Filed under
Linux

By Don Crowder

I never liked Windows. My Apple II+, which didn't have a hard drive and had only 48 Kilobytes of RAM, was a dinosaur by comparison to my first Windows machine but the Apple was an old friend who I understood and spent hundreds of pleasurable hours learning how to use. Windows, from the first, seemed unnecessarily complicated, adversarial, and difficult to learn. I learned it but there was little joy in the process. Maybe that's why Linux captured my interest and imagination from the first time I heard about it (back in nineteenmumble) but I was reluctant to just jump in and give it a try because it was difficult to imagine how anything free could truly be any good. After all, you get what you pay for; that's how the world has always worked.

When it became possible to buy a copy of Mandrake or SUSE Linux I avidly read every word I could find and agonized over which I should try and how was I going to get my hands on another computer because I wasn't letting go of my Windows machine until I knew how to use Linux. A few more years passed while I waffled and worried. In the end I resigned myself to becoming a competent, if reluctant, Windows user.

Things started to change when somebody gave us a Ubuntu live CD. Lisa and I enjoyed experimenting with it and later, after we switched from dial-up to DSL I learned how to download ISO files and burn my own live CDs. We tried over a dozen Linux distributions, decided that we both preferred KDE to Gnome and were especially fond of PCLinuxOS.

Using Linux became a doable reality when I lucked into a nice used computer. I installed PCLinuxOS on it, set Lisa up with a KVM switch (sharing her monitor, mouse and keyboard with her XP machine) and went looking for another used computer for me. All I could find (that I could also afford) was an older machine and the nicest distro I could get to run on it was Debian Sarge (via the net install). Sarge required a lot of post-install tweaking but I actually enjoyed learning to use it. For 25 years I was an electronics technician; I enjoy fixing things. It's what I do.

A lot has happened since then. Etch replaced Sarge as the stable version of Debian and Etch doesn't require any of the 'really geeky' post install tweaks but it has it's own set of useful tweaks that enable it do all sorts of things I could never figure out how to do in Sarge. What was once my new Windows machine is running Debian Etch and I have a slightly older, slower machine next to it, running Windows XP (which I almost never turn on anymore). I won't stop using Windows altogether because I have friends, family and a few hundred ezine readers who still use it. I don't want to lose touch with them but I, finally, have other options and that makes me very happy.

If I had no other reason for preferring Linux to Windows, these two would suffice:

1. For the first eighteen months after I started using Linux I didn't know how to install a firewall or anti-virus software so I just did without them and never had a problem. I've since installed both but don't always remember to turn them on. When I do turn them on, they seem to consume only a tiny fraction of my system resources.

2. If I notice anything different after updating my Linux machine it's only that things seem to work a little better and none of my system settings are ever altered in the slightest by updates.

Linux has not only been free, it's paid me rich dividends. I've used Linux for a little over two years and in that time I've learned more about the 'insides' of a computer than I learned in the preceding twenty years. For me, learning something new has always been the best payoff of all.

Sounds familiar...

I, too, was an avid Apple II user, but I followed that up with a Mac. Then it was Windows. The world seemed to all be shifting toward this standardization. No one was going to use anything else. The nails were being put in the Mac's coffin...

My formidable years were spent on Apple II machines. ProDOS...Applesoft BASIC... It was all fun. It was the perfect hobbyist's computer, for the time. But somewhere along the line, someone felt that they had to take all the fun out of computing. Windows was such a beast. It was serious. All the software titles seemed to mean business. What a drag... Now, it's even worse with DRM and Microsoft's focus on the Xbox 360.

Then, I found Red Hat Linux 5.2, but couldn't figure it out. I upgraded to 6.0...still no luck with this thing, but I pressed on. But then...I discovered Mandrake 7.0. It had KDE and URPMI. I started to make sense of it all. My life has never been the same, since. I've pretty much left Windows far behind. Linux is so much fun. There's so much to learn - so much to explore.

I'm happily using PCLinuxOS after jumping around a few distros over the years. I'll never look back. I still miss my Apple IIGS, though!

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

More in Tux Machines

Additional Services: Shannon & Associates Independent Accounting and Consulting Firms

While we're known for our expertise in the fields of accounting, auditing, taxes, employee benefits and accounting software, we offer a broad range of other services to complement your business's financial needs. That's because we function not only as your accounting firm but your management consultant as well. Our supplemental services include:

Business succession planning: We'll do your succession planning and transactions without the need for an outside appraiser.

Other accounting and financial services include:

• Estate tax compliance

• Mergers and acquisitions

• Fraud prevention and efficiency

• Employee recruitment

• Organizational structure analysis

• Strategic planning

• Cash flow projections

• Due diligence

• Financing options

• Management and CEO consulting

• Wealth management

• Cost segregation

For more information about any of these management consultant services, simply contact us.

Shannon & Associates is committed to your success.

Snappy Ubuntu Core takes off in a quadcopter

Erle Robotics has launched an Ubuntu Core “Snappy” version of its open source Linux and ROS-based Erle-Copter quadcopter, with Erle-Copter app store access. The “Erle-Copter Ubuntu Core Special Edition” is functionally almost identical to the Erle-Copter quadrotor drone announced by Erle Robotics in December, but instead of the usual Debian Linux distribution, it offers one of the first implementations of the lightweight new Snappy version of Ubuntu Core. Read more

There's No Plans for Ubuntu Phones Based on Ubuntu 15.10 (Wily Werewolf), Says Canonical

Now that Ubuntu 15.10 (Wily Werewolf) is open for development, and the Ubuntu Online Summit for Ubuntu 15.10 takes place these days between May 5-7 on the UbuntuOnAir channel, the Ubuntu Phone team announced plans for the next Ubuntu Touch development cycle. Read more

Linux-ready COM mates an i.MX6 SoC with an FPGA

Armadeus has launched a Linux-equipped module that integrates a Freescale i.MX6 SoC with a Cyclone V GX FPGA, and offers SATA, CSI, DSI, and optional WiFi. French technology firm Armadeus Systems has been selling Freescale i.MX based modules for years, including the circa-2009, i.MX27 based APF27. For the new “APF6_SP” computer-on-module, Amadeus has turned to Freescale’s Cortex-A9 i.MX6 SoC, which it had previous adopted for its APF6 COM. The feature set on the APF6_SP is very similar, with one major exception: the addition of an Altera Cyclone V GX FPGA. Read more